Being social has it’s privileges. One such privilege is being invited to Marquis Wine Cellar’s Social Media tasting in downtown Vancouver. A small, intimate affair with other social media wine and food bloggers; we get to try some new and exciting wines brought in by Marquis. This year, I had my sights on two wines: 1) Josko Gravner Breg Anfora 2004 from Friuli, Italy, and 2) Amalie Robert Pinot Noir 2007, from Oregon.
Why Gravner and Amalie?
First to tackle Josko Gravner. This Italian wine maker is well known for producing Natural Wines aka Orange Wines. These are wines that are make in a “traditional” older style way, such as was produced before the modern wine making methods were developed. With these Orange Wines, white wine grapes are left in contact with their skins before fermentation to extract out more of the colour and flavours from the skin. The wine has more contact to oxygen than modern methods of producing white wines, which can leave these wines with a somewhat oxidized flavour and aroma. A similar analogy I can draw is the aroma and flavour you can get from a fino sherry. Love it or hate it, orange wines are gaining in popularity. This Gravner is only the second orange wine that I have tried. My first was a La Stoppa Ageno 2007. My review of La Stoppa Ageno 2007 is at this link.
The Josko Grvaner Breg Anfora 2004, Friuli, Italy ($119.90) is a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Italico, and Pinot Grigio. It was an orangy, peach skin colour in the glass. A very interesting nose, of banana and tropical fruit, and fino sherry. Medium body, very dry with apple, citrus and fino sherry flavours. It had medium minus acidity and a light mouth feel, and a bit of a spicy tingle on the tongue. Overall an interesting wine. If you are a wine geek, give this wine a try.
The second wine I was really interested to try was the Amalie Robert Pinot Noir 2007 from Oregon. Oregon has been producing some very good quality Pinot Noir wines. Burgundy producers have as well setup vineyards and wineries in Oregon as they recognized the potential of the area. This is a brand new producer, and I was interested to taste what they have to offer. Also, if you did not already know, I am a Pinot Noir lover.
The Amalie Robert Pinot Noir 2007, Oregon ($41.90) did not disappoint. Pale garnet in colour. A beautiful smoky strawberry nose. I could have sniffed this glass of wine all evening. Light body, dry with strawberry and red cherry flavours. Long length. Very nice.
My Other Wine Picks from the Tasting
- Domaine Renaudie, Touraine Sparkling, NV, Loire Valley, France ($23.90). This is a sparkling wine made from a blend of Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay grapes. Pale straw colour. Pears and tropical fruit nose. Dry with high acidity. Tropical fruit and some floweriness flavours. Fine bubbles. Medium length.
Domaine Bernard Gripa Saint Joseph 2006, Northern Rhone, France ($42.90). This wine has had 6 years of aging, and shows you that you can age your white wines. This one is a blend of Marsanne, Viognier, and Roussanne. With age it is medium golden in colour. Honey, butterscotch and marmalade on the nose. Medium plus body, round, with tropical fruit and dried orange peel flavours. It would be interesting to buy this one and maybe a younger vintage to see how the wine can change over time.
- Domaine Huards Rose 2010, Cheverny, Loire Valley, France ($22.90). A blend of Gamay Noir, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Franc. This is a food friendly wine that is quite refreshing on the palate. It has a light strawberry nose. Dry, light body with high acidity (which is good to pair with food). Strawberries on the palate.
Edgebaston The Pepper Pot 2010, Stellenbosch, South Africa ($22.90). This is a spicy blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, and Tannat. It was opaque garnet in the glass. Gamey, leather, and sausage aromas. Full body, dry with nice minerality. Spicy, dark fruit, ripe cherries, and some dark chocolate. Tasty.
- Yann Chave Crozes-Hermitage 2007, Northern Rhone, France. If you are not familiar with the Northern Rhone, this is the home of Syrah. This syrah was medium translucent garnet in colour. Mineral and bbq sauce nose. I don’t think I’ve ever described the nose of a wine as bbq sauce, but this one had it and it was really interesting. Light body, dry with raisiny, light leather flavours. Quite restrained.
- Gerovassiliou Avaton 2006, Epanomi, Greece ($45.90). Buy this wine and help out the Greek economy. A blend of 3 indigenous Greek red varietals: Limnio, Mavroudi, and Mavrotragano Limnio. Deep garnet in colour. Light aromas of dark fruit. Full body. Lots of dark cherry flavours and some spice. Dry with medium plus tannins. A change from drinking a red Bordeaux.
- Domaine Le Mont 2004, Bonnezeaux, Loire Valley, France ($36.90). This is a late harvest Chenin Blanc. Pear skin colour. Apricot and honey nose. Unctuous, round with apricot and spice flavours. Off dry, not too sweet to be easily enjoyed by everyone. Tasty.
Tasty Food from Lolitas
It is always nice to try wine with food. This year we were treated to some appetizers from Lolitas south of the border cantina (located at 1326 Davie St.). One appetizer was a Chicken Empanada. The empanada, a little baked bread pocket, was filled with smoked chicken, roasted yam, poblano chile, and white cheese. I liked the smokiness of the empanada and paired it with the rose. The other appetizer was a Ceviche using ocean-wise seafood, topped with a citrus and chile pepper, guacamole and pickled chayote, all stacked on a crisp corn toastada. This had outstanding flavour; with the citrus and guacamole flavour, and the textures of all the elements. I had to have a few of these.
Thank you to John Clerides, the owner of Marquis Wine Cellars for inviting me to this event. Please visit Marquis Wine Cellars. They have a great variety of wines, and a knowledgeable staff. Enjoy!